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Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Frequently asked Questions

Sociology is concerned with the scientific study of human behavior in groups. Since a group consists of two or more communicating people, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the briefest of two-person interactions to the most enduring features of culture and world civilizations. The unique insight of sociology is that we are what we are largely because of our social experience with others as those experiences are shaped by our cultural settings. Sociologists use various methodological and statistical techniques to study, describe and explain human behavior in different social settings.

Anthropology is the study of people at all times and places. It emphasizes understanding total cultural systems. The department sees understanding anthropology as vital to understanding society. Although we do not offer a major in anthropology, a variety of courses in anthropology are offered. A sociology major can elect to concentrate in anthropology and can go on to graduate school to become an anthropologist.

Social work is the profession of helping individuals, families, groups or communities to enhance or restore their capacity for social functioning and creating societal conditions favorable to that goal. The department offers courses focusing on families and individuals as well as policy-influencing or comparative approaches to large-scale social change. Although no degree is available in social work, students may choose to minor in this field and attend graduate school to become practicing social workers.

Sociology is a good major to combine with a minor in social work, anthropology, business, philosophy, or communication. However, students can be creative. A minor area of study in almost any discipline will combine well with sociology, which is about the social world.

A number of sociology students get a second major. An obvious choice is psychology, particularly if you are interested in human behavior. Many students in criminal justice studies also declare sociology as a primary or secondary major. Philosophy also combines well with sociology. We have had a number of students combine sociology with history. One enterprising student is getting dual degrees, combining mechanical engineering and sociology.

Sociology majors find careers in a broad spectrum of jobs, such as teaching, social service or law. Graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees in sociology, law, psychology, and social work.

Many of our graduates go on to earn an MSW and are currently practicing social workers. Sociology is an excellent foundation for pursuing an MSW, because it offers a broad perspective that can be applied across multiple populations in generalist social work practice. The department's social work field experience is an invaluable opportunity to gain practical experience, and is just one way that sociology majors at UD can explore research, theory, diversity and collective action that will lead to a strong foundation for an MSW.

The sociology major is structured in a way to culminate in an engaging senior project. Students take:

  1. SOC 101 to learn the basic foundation of sociology;
  2. Research Methods, where students learn how to gather data;
  3. Data Analysis, where students learn how to analyze the data they gathered);
  4. Urban Sociology, in which students take sociological concepts in the Dayton community;
  5. Social Theory, to learn the frameworks for understanding social concepts; and
  6. Senior Project, putting it all together.

Students also take six sociology elective courses such as DevianceLaw & SocietyImmigrationSociology of GenderRacial & Ethnic RelationsMarriages & Families, and Food Justice. Three of the six Sociology electives can be in Social Work or Anthropology (which is why many sociology majors earn a minor in Social Work or Anthropology). Many electives in Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work also double count for requirements in the Common Academic Program.

We offer a challenging but rewarding program, which develops students' critical thinking and writing skills where students learn to formulate research questions, collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data and clearly present research results.

The primary objective of the DSASW is to assist its students in developing the skills necessary for a career, social service, or for advanced study. The students in this program learn sociology and how to function as a sociologist in the department's capstone senior seminar. By the time they graduate, they learn to think as a sociologist. At UD, the sociology major can become involved in undergraduate research. There are also numerous service-learning and internship experiences that allow undergraduate students to test their career commitment at an early stage in their academic development. Faculty members work closely with students and encourage them to present their work in a variety of formats. The sociology major at UD not only gains valuable social science knowledge and perspective, but invaluable applied experience, and a greater insight on what it means to be human in contemporary society.

A hallmark of the department is the students collegial relationships with faculty members. Students comment on the openness and accessibility of the departmental faculty. Although there are quite a few sociology majors, students feel that we are a "small" department. We have the opportunities of a large department with the interpersonal accessibility of a small, liberal arts college.

In the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at UD, the student-to-faculty ratio is approximately 7 to 1. This ratio allows for much student-faculty interaction. Faculty members know majors, because they frequently work with them closely on projects and assignments. This allows for excellent mentoring of our students. The chairperson is officially the students' incoming adviser, but after their first year, students are assigned to a departmental adviser for the remainder of their time. However, informal advising takes place in a variety of contexts from halls, faculty offices, and before and after classes, and sometimes even in the KU dining rooms.


Department of Sociology

St. Joseph Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1442